By: Elizabeth Lang
Publisher: IFWG Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: November 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 18, 2011
Lieutenant Adrian Stannis is a science officer aboard an old exploration vessel called the Sedener that's owned by The Empire. This is a man who is truly necessary in the world in which he lives, more necessary than even he can imagine. He's an extremely quiet man - he doesn't like to speak, he doesn't like to even be touched by others, he just simply keeps his head down, his mouth shut, and does his work quickly, efficiently, and quietly. Ensign Kali Mirren is also a "player" on the ship, who has more compassion, loyalty and love for Adrian than humanly possible. Of course, she's not exactly human. Kali is a Tellaran who has psi abilities - an empath who can read human emotions. This one morning, the always on time Adrian Stannis has not arrived to work which is making Kali extremely nervous. No matter how hard she tries, she can't seem to locate him, yet she can feel something horrible happening to him...but where?
Adrian is quiet for a reason. This is a man who long ago, when just a child, was taken from his parents by The Empire because of the immense skill set that he'd shown almost since birth. Adrian has a brain that others would love to command because he can figure out almost any problem or issue in the world. In fact, his first mission for the Empire was called the Neutron Wave Project that would create the most frightening military capability in the universe. A little like the famous Oppenheimer, Adrian threw himself into the project full-force, but right at the end - when he could've been the hero of the commanders of space, he realized what he'd done and sabotaged his own project. The result? Adrian was sent to the middle of nowhere and The Empire formed a grudge against him that would surely come back to haunt him. And it has...
He sits on a table under the hands of The Therapist, using the most passionately painful form of torture that's available in their world. Adrian tries desperately to close Kali from his mind as its happening. Although he can "feel" her, the one person he never wants harmed is the Ensign that has slowly defrosted his ice-covered heart. When he realizes that The Empire has found out about his sabotage of the project results, he is told that he will be transferred back to the Trykor, which is Fleet Admiral Verel's ship and the pride of the Empire's fleet. Not only will he be going back, but Kali is to go with him as his consort, as well as a man named Bryce as his personal assistant. This is somewhat of a gift and a curse given to Adrian, but now he has no choice. He can't even commit suicide to leave this life behind, because he must make sure that Kali is safe.
Upon his return, his past comes back to haunt him as he looks into the eyes of a beautiful but horrific woman named Tamara who worked with Adrian before on the project that went awry. This is a woman who is beyond angry at him because of the personal relationship they had many years before. She's out for revenge and will do and use anything within her power to get it. The head of the science lab is named Alan Kegan - not bright at all, this is a man who has his position because of political conniving and making sure to sell his information to the highest bidder. Add in a man named Sester who is brought to the ship to break Adrian with all the mind games he has at his disposal, and this book becomes an intricate chess match between good and evil, as well as guilty versus innocent.
Not your regular science fiction, this author has managed to create a story with so many twists and turns that there are times when the evil beings that you've come to hate, end up working for the side that you love. No matter what the character's rank there is always someone higher up on the ladder of success that is brought in to knock them down a rung or two, leading the reader to turn every page so that they can continue a remarkable journey that never surrenders. And the end? Well...this is a series, readers, so the end will leave you wanting to throw the book across the room because the story was SO good that you absolutely NEED to know what's going to happen next!
Quill says: This is a breathless, roller-coaster ride of romance, mystery, intrigue, and a battle between characters that you simultaneously love and hate. Elizabeth Lang has created a series that will make every reader watch Amazon, hoping that Book II's publication will be announced very, very soon.